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    Category: At The Checkout

    The customer has seemed normal and maybe even intelligent throughout the shopping purchase. But then they get to the checkout and as soon as human interaction is required it all falls apart. The checkout operators really are our first line of defense against the stupid customer!

    Although He Uses A Lot Of Ranch

    | Syracuse, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (There is a customer coming through my line that is wearing cowboy clothing complete with 10-gallon hat, shiny belt buckle, and cowboy boots. There is another customer with a young boy standing behind them. I watch as the boy yanks on his mother’s skirt and points to the man in front.)

    Young Boy: “Excuse me, sir; are you a REAL cowboy?”

    Customer: *in a thick Texas drawl* “Why yes little man I am, but I only got to be a real cowboy because I ate all my vegetables and listened to my mother.”

    (The customer then tips his hat to the mother and leaves. The boy does nothing but gush about his cowboy experience.)

    Young Boy: “Mom! Go get more vegetables!”

    Gift Carded And Dearly Departed

    | Tacoma, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Awesome Workers, Health & Body, Top

    (I am working as an assistant manager at a retail store. A customer comes in while it is slow, so I am able to pay a lot of attention to her, and find her exactly what she wants.)

    Customer: “Is it okay to pay by gift card?”

    Me: “Of course.”

    (I start ringing her in.)

    Customer: “I hate to use it though.”

    Me: “Oh really? Why is that?”

    Customer: “My mom gave it to me for my last birthday, and she passed away two months ago.”

    (I pause for a moment to make eye contact with her.)

    Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that. I lost my own mom a little over a year ago, so I know what you’re going through.”

    Customer: “Oh! I guess you do understand then. Does it get easier?”

    Me: “No. I still miss her horribly, and still want to pick up the phone and call her every single day. But I suppose I’m not as raw as I was. You’ll get to that point too, though you’ll always miss her.”

    Customer: “Yeah…”

    (I finish ringing her up, and swipe her gift card, which pays for everything. Afterwards, I bring her bag around the counter for her, and hand it to her.)

    Customer: “Can I… can I make a really strange request?”

    Me: “Sure.”

    Customer: “Can I keep the gift card?”

    Me: “Oh, of course you can!”

    (I hand it to her. She puts it back in the envelope that bears her name, and caresses it. I can see she’s on the verge of tears.)

    Me: “Right before my mom died, she gave me the package she never sent me for my birthday, which had some Avon perfume in it. I like the perfume, but I hardly ever use it, because I don’t want to have to throw away one of the last things she ever gave me.”

    Customer: “Oh, so you completely understand why I want to keep this!”

    Me: *eyes filling with tears* “Oh yes, ma’am, completely!”

    (We wind up chatting for close to 45 minutes, sharing stories about our moms. By the end of it, we’re both crying openly, but they’re good tears.)

    Customer: “I’ve taken up so much of your time; I’m sorry.”

    Me: “No, don’t apologize. I’m so glad you came in, and that you were willing to share with me!”

    Customer: “Can I… can I hug you?”

    Me: “Of course you can!”

    (We hug for a long time, with both of us still crying. She thanks me profusely, and vows to come back and ask for me especially. I never did see her again, as I quit not long after that, but it was a wonderful experience. I hope wherever she is, her grief has become less raw than it was when I saw her. I’ll always, always remember her as being one of the best customers I ever had.)

    Moving The Line Forward By Paying It Forward

    | Las Vegas, NV, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I am about 11 years old, ordering lunch at the mall food court, from a restaurant that serves customers cafeteria style. I am alone, and there is a middle aged man in front of me in the line. I am not paying much attention to him as he reaches the register and pays, but does not immediately walk away.)

    Cashier: *to customer behind me* “Just the entree, sir?”

    Me: “Umm, excuse me?”

    Cashier: *to me* “You need to move out of the way.”

    Me: “But—”

    (I realize she is not listening to me at all, and stand there bewildered as to what to do. After a few seconds, the middle-aged man chimes in.)

    Middle-Aged Man: “She thought we were together. She charged me for your meal.”

    Me: “Oh! I’m so sorry. I wasn’t even paying attention. Here, I’ll pay you back.”

    Middle-Aged Man: “Nah, don’t worry about it. Have a nice day.”

    (By the time I get over my shock and try to thank him, he has already walked away without another word. Nearly ten years later I still remember and appreciate it, proving that even the smallest act of generosity can have a lasting impression.)

    Polite Touch

    | St.Louis, MO, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month, Top

    (I am working the register when a young girl of about four or five approaches.)

    Little Girl: “Excuse me, but do you sell bottled water?”

    Me: “We sure do sweetheart; it’s right by the self check out.”

    (The little girl walks over to the coolers and grabs a water. She stops by her mother who is nearby in an aisle and then comes back to me.)

    Little Girl: “I told my mommy I was feeling a bit dehydrated, so she said I can buy this.”

    Me: “You sure can! That will be [total].”

    (She hands me $2, and I hand her her change.)

    Me: “Thank you for being so polite; enjoy your water!”

    Little Girl: “You’re welcome, ma’am. My mommy says you should be polite to people because it makes them happy, and I like to make people happy.”

    (She certainly put a smile on my face for the rest of the night!)

    One Sandwich, Hold The Plural

    , | Stillwater, OK, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Food & Drink, Language & Words, Top

    (I am working at a very popular fast food place. I am very sick, and have tried to call in, but as we were short-handed, I am asked to come and just work the lunch rush. Since the lunch rush is over, my manager tells me to help the last two customers, who appear to be construction workers, and then I can go home. I smile brightly despite feeling like crap.)

    Me: “Hi, what can I get for you?”

    Customer: “I want [sandwiches]!”

    (I am confused, as he pluralizes the word and doesn’t specify the number of sandwiches.)

    Me: “Sure, how many would you like?”

    Customer: *glaring* “I… want… ONE… [sandwich]. Do you understand? ONE… [sandwich].”

    Me: “Sure, sorry for the misunderstanding. It’s just usually when someone pluralizes a word, that means they want more than one. Would you like the meal, or just the sandwich?”

    Customer: “I said ONE [sandwich]! I don’t want the d*** meal!”

    Me: “Okay, no problem. Would you like anything else?”

    Customer: “Yeah, give me a small fry and an orange juice.”

    Me: “Sir, it would actually be cheaper for you to just get the meal, which comes with a medium fry, and then you could still get orange juice as the drink.”

    Customer: “I said I don’t want the meal! Are you stupid?”

    Me: “No, sir, just trying to save you money. But that’s fine. Your total is [total].”

    (His total is a couple of dollars more than how much the meal would have been.)

    Customer: “Wait. How much would the meal be?”

    Me: “Just one moment, and I’ll total that up for you.”

    (I press a few buttons, canceling out his order, and replace it with the meal with an orange juice.)

    Me: “Your total doing it that way is [new total].”

    Customer: “Huh. I guess it is cheaper. I’ll do that instead.”

    (The customer pays, and I help the next customer in line, who is apparently one of his coworkers. This one is much nicer than the other one, and even says please and thank you. I get off work and go to change out of my work clothes so I can walk home. On my way out of the bathroom, I’m stopped by the two men.)

    Customer: “Listen, I’m really sorry for how I treated you. There was no excuse for that. I’ve just had a really bad day.”

    Me: “It’s okay, sir, really.”

    Customer: “This is for you.”

    (He hands me an apple pie, which he had apparently gotten after I had gone into the bathroom to change.)

    Customer: “Your manager tells me that you are sick today, and still came in. I never would have guessed you weren’t feeling well. Your customer service is really extraordinary, and I told him so.”

    Me: “Thank you so much, sir. I hope you have a much better day from here on out, both of you!”

    (They wish me a good day also, and tell me they hope I feel better soon. Somehow, after that, I DO actually feel better!)

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